My favourite place to sit and contemplate the world going by is on the floor of my bedroom; back pressed up against the bed, making the window just the right height to frame the sky. I sit there a lot like that, often when I’m looking for a little piece of my own peace and quiet, or need some way to frame the day and put it all into perspective. Often with a notebook and Bible in hand, it’s where I do some of my best thinking and praying, thoughts rolling quietly around my brain as the clouds roll across the sky outside.

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So it’s the beginning of the year, and January rolls across our lives like those big fat clouds roll across my window pane, and Blue Monday rolls right into us and for some, it knocks the wind right out of our sails and for others, we sail right on regardless. It’s a time of resolutions and plans for the year ahead, of goal setting and re-evaluating; some more out-loud and conscious than others, but we all do it I think – hopes, dreams, plans pinned out there on the line, flapping gently in the breeze, clouds rushing by overhead.

My plans this year are big. Audacious hopes that frighten me as I whisper them out loud, slowly, to the people I trust and love. What do you do with plans so big that they threaten to scare the very living daylights out of you? Where do you start when the dreams overwhelm and loom large and what if I fail? What if I don’t make it and now everyone knows and how will I deal with that disappointment? 

I whisper it in the dark. Disappointment.

Isn’t it the very thing that makes us all keep our dreams hidden down there in the dark? Frightened that if we bring them up and into the light they will crumble in our hands, leaving nothing but dust and ashes and that bitter taste of disappointment in our mouths? Frightened that we will disappoint ourselves, that others will be disappointed in us, that we won’t be enough for them to love regardless, that we won’t be enough for God to love if we aren’t good enough to meet our goals and if our dreams don’t come true, what then?

Our goals can help us aim straight, channel our energy and our time and our passion. They can help us focus and cut out all that hinders and distracts. Or they can overwhelm us, frighten us with their prospect of failing, of falling short, or disappointing.

And we chose. We chose to move, or we chose to stay. We chose to bring our hopes and our dreams and our goals for the year out into the light and let others help and cheer us on, or we choose to hide them away, frightened of others’ reactions and our own fear of disappointing ourselves and them.

This year – 2017 – I chose the former. I am choosing to share my dream – my goal for the year – with a trusted few and with you, my online community of cheerleaders and readers and people that encourage me with your support and friendship. My goal for 2017 is to write a book. A story of a family that was busted apart but that came back together again. That was broken in the most horrible and terminal of ways but that was healed and restored and so much more. It’s my story – the story of my family. Some of you will know it in part, have heard bits of it spoken either by me or my lovely Mum or Dad. And I’m hoping this year that as I journey through the dreaming and the writing and the worrying that I will disappoint you, or me, or God somehow in the process of telling it, that I will be brave enough to tell it well, and confident enough to know I’ve done my best, which is all any of us can do with the dreams we have in our hearts.

So next week I will be letting you in on a sneak-peek of the story. I’d love your thoughts and comments. And I’d love to know what dreams you are holding in your heart this year. Let’s share them as a community and encourage one another in love!

And to inspire us to be brave, here’s one of my favourite quotes. It’s by Marianne Williamson, and spoken by Nelson Mandela on his inauguration in 1994:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.